‘I want to complete the arm’: Story behind Nix GK coach’s Hyundai A-League tattoo
If Markus Babbel’s Western Sydney Wanderers tattoo left you with raised eyebrows, you might need to take a seat before looking at the tattoos which grace Paul Gothard’s right arm.
The Wellington Phoenix Goalkeeper Coach has accumulated plenty of life experience both playing and coaching at football clubs around the world, and he has tattoos of the club crests and league logos permanently inked into his skin to show for it.
And yes, that includes a rather prominent tattoo of the Hyundai A-League logo on his elbow.
“The first one I got was the family crest; family is really important to me,” Gothard told a-league.com.au
“Then I wanted to build on that really, and go with symbols that were important to me.
“I’d always liked the idea of getting them but I wanted something that would mean something to me instead of just putting a squiggle on my arm.
“With the job in football and the work I have from that, that seemed a sensible route to go down for me.”
Gothard’s football journey started in his native England where he played predominantly for Dagenham and Redbridge FC as a goalkeeper.
After his retirement Gothard and his family made the life-changing decision to uproot and move to New Zealand where his coaching career blossomed, ultimately leading to his current role in charge of the Phoenix goalkeeping unit.
“Originally we moved over with the young family 14 years ago to New Zealand just north of Auckland to a little place called Warkworth,” Gothard said.
“That was just a change of life; I’d retired from playing, I’d been playing back in the UK for just over 10 years with Dagenham and Redbridge and a number of clubs back there.
“Coming over led me to playing for my little local club at Warkworth, which linked into Central United and Auckland City, and then Auckland City kicked me on.
“Last season I got the opportunity to come over to the Phoenix and it was what I wanted to do, I wanted to do full-time football work with the ‘keepers every day and make a difference, and that’s what I’ve done.”
As he made the transition from playing to coaching Gothard racked up experience at a number of clubs at a range of levels eventually leading to his role at the Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League, and you can map out every step of his journey as you scan the many tattoos which grace his right arm.
“I’ve done Club World Cup’s with Auckland City... so their logo went on," Gothard said.
“That led into the U-17 World Cup with New Zealand when I took a new role with New Zealand Football, then went into the U-20 World Cup with New Zealand, Nations Cup with the national team, then the (FIFA Confederations Cup) and working my way through now into the A-League really.
“Phoenix are on there, the fern, and my daggers there for Dagenham and Redbridge from back home in the UK.
“I needed to patch the elbow, and the A-League (logo) fitted quite well.”
With the Phoenix and Hyundai A-League logos permanently etched into his skin it seems Gothard has the complete set of Australian football tattoos, but there’s one more tattoo he wants before his time at the Phoenix is up.
“I want to complete the arm,” Gothard said.
“The aim would be to win the (Hyundai A-League) Grand Final and I could get the classic toilet seat one everyone talks about, and put that one on there somewhere.”
Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers